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Leitrim locals tell of ‘monster’ wind turbines torment  

Credit:  By Michelle Fleming | Irish Mirror | 14 DEC 2019 | www.irishmirror.ie ~~

The “monster” wind turbine towers menacingly over the village, each of its vast white blades alone will be two-and-a-half times the length of a wing on a Boeing 747.

These structures are almost twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and completely dwarf the church, people and tractors below.

The scale model of the proposed Croagh Wind Farm sitting in the middle of artist Adrienne Diamond’s conservatory makes for dramatic viewing.

It shows what the picturesque North Leitrim village of Dromahair will look like if Coillte’s plans for 10 new giant turbines – the largest in Ireland and 500m above sea level – on Corry Mountain get the go-ahead.

Adrienne, her partner Graham and their next door neighbour Barney Moran – a “blow-in” accountant from Dublin – say the 102-metre turbine behind their homes already makes their lives hell.

Barney and his wife once dreamed of retiring permanently from Dublin to their rural bolthole. But they can’t stick the noise.

And if Coillte gets its way, residents here in this unspoilt rural paradise, a kilometre from where Ken Loach’s film Jimmy Hall was filmed, will be encircled in a horseshoe of noise.

Pig farmer Thomas McPadden raises an eyebrow and remarks: “That movie couldn’t be made here.

“They came for the scenery, not an industrial factory of turbines.”

With the constant whoosh, hum and incessant flicker – like an annoying TV on the blink – from the current turbine, Barney likens living here to “being in a railway station or an airport runway”.

Right now there is a cluster of 90 turbines stretching from Arigna to Drumkeeran and Drumshanbo, with the last one stopping behind Adrienne and Barney’s homes.

So it’s little wonder plans for the giant 168-metre wind turbines – 50% larger than the current structures – are terrifying locals.

But these Windmill Warriors aren’t giving up without a fight.

Around 50 families will be affected by the wind farm and they say there’s much more at stake than their peace and quiet.

Their campaign Windmill Aware Dromahair is gathering momentum.

Leitrim and Sligo county councils are backing a moratorium on planning for wind farms until strict new regulations are put in place. Currently Coillte abides by the 2006 Wind Energy Development guidelines.

The average turbine was 50m tall in 2006. The structures here are 100m and the new ones will be nearly 170m.

Following reports from the World Health Organisation, stricter guidelines expected this year have been delayed.

Residents say no turbines should go up until these are published.

Some are worried about health effects on their families – backed by Queen’s Professor Alun Evans who claims “wind turbine syndrome” causes sleep disturbance, headaches, dizziness and tinnitus.

He said in Ireland turbines are “being sanctioned too close to habitation” with children and the elderly most at risk.

Others fear they’ll lose their livelihoods and auctioneers told residents the value of their homes will plummet.

Mum-of-four Catriona Arnott, a yoga teacher who moved to Leitrim in 2009, said: “Even if we wanted to leave we’d be unable to sell our homes.”

And it’s not Catriona’s eight-month-old baby who keeps her awake crying at night but her 10-year-old daughter Evie, who comes to her bedroom crying when she can’t sleep because of turbine noise.

Tracy Rynn’s autistic son Darragh, six, clasps his hands over his ears when she puts the hairdryer or tumble drier on. She dreads to think how the turbines will affect him if they go up.

Tracy said: “These monstrosities terrify me. The scary thing is I don’t know how a constant low frequency hum like that will affect him. As he’s non-verbal he wouldn’t be able to tell me.

“It’s terrifying to think he could be uncomfortable in his own home. He doesn’t sleep at the best of times so God knows how he’ll relax with the flicker.”

Leitrim Tourism and Failte Ireland have pumped millions in recent years to push the county in as a wild unspoilt haven for adventure holidays.

Now locals fear the visitors won’t return. Adrienne and Graham bring tourists canoeing around the Lake Isle of Innisfree and islands on Lough Gill with their company Adventure Gently.

Adrienne said: “Tourists come back again and again and 70% of people come to Ireland for unspoilt scenery and people are bowled over. So many people here are working in tourism.”

Bridget Kristof, a vet working in Leitrim since 1989, said: “What about health side-affects, are we guinea pigs?“

Barney adds: “Politicians are pushy as turbines are the flavour of the moment. They know the new guidelines will restrict them completely. Why are there no turbines on the Dublin/Wicklow mountain? Voters. It’s purely political.

“They’re under pressure of the Paris Accord and they have been asleep at the wheel for years so suddenly this is the plan with no thought for communities.”

A spokesman for Coillte said: “Coillte is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of Ireland’s economy.”

It added the Strategic Environmental Assessment process included a public consultation and proposed revisions will be made, with the revised Wind Energy Development Guidelines set to be published in mid-2020.

The spokesman said: “The process allows the wind farm design to progress through various iterations, incorporating feedback from the stakeholder engagement process and taking on board findings within the Environmental Impact Assessment.

“We are confident this represents a best-in-class approach to community engagement and wind farm design.”

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Environment Minister Richard Bruton has launched a public consultation period for eight weeks on the proposed revisions to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines.

Source:  By Michelle Fleming | Irish Mirror | 14 DEC 2019 | www.irishmirror.ie

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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